PARIS, January 25 /PRNewswire/ -- On January 15, the Minister of Health and Hygiene of Côte d'Ivoire, Dr. Rémi Allah Kouadio, presided over a ceremony to mark the launch of a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) named Côte d'Ivoire National Committee of Independent Experts for Vaccination and Vaccines (Comité National d'Experts Indépendants pour la Vaccination et les Vaccins de la Côte d'Ivoire, CNEIV-CI).

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The NITAG was created following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to strengthen national capacity for evidence-based policy decisions with regard to immunization and vaccines.

Côte d'Ivoire is the first GAVI-eligible country in sub-Saharan Africa to set up such a committee. It was established with the support of the SIVAC (Supporting Independent Immunization and Vaccine Advisory Committees) Initiative, implemented by the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) in partnership with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI). The initiative, which is funded by a grant from the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to support the creation or strengthening of sustainable NITAGs in GAVI-eligible and middle-income countries.

The NITAG's role is to advise the Ministry of Health in Côte d'Ivoire on all topics related to vaccines and immunizations. This includes, for example: vaccination policies and strategies, introduction of vaccines, prioritization of new vaccines, revision of vaccine schedules, and immunization coverage.

The committee is composed of three types of members: independent national experts from a wide range of disciplines (core members), representatives from state agencies (ex-officio members), and representatives from partner institutions (WHO, UNICEF, AMP). Only the first group is allowed to vote.

The committee is co-chaired by Janine Tagliante-Saracino, professor of public health, and Emmanuel Bissagnene, professor of infectious diseases. The National Institute for Public Hygiene (Institut National d'Hygiène Publique, INHP) will act as the scientific and technical secretariat of the committee.

SIVAC will now establish a multi-year agreement with the INHP to provide technical and scientific support to ensure that the committee will be able to make evidence-based recommendations on a sustainable basis, said Kamel Senouci, SIVAC director.

RELATED LINKS AMP: IVI: SIVAC: CONTACT For more information, please contact: Agence de Medecine Preventive:

SOURCE: Agence de Medecine Preventive (AMP)

CONTACT: Sabrina Gaber, AMP, Tél : +33(0)1-5386-8924,